Just your everyday raspberry sofrito
A few weeks ago I went back to Cali for the UT vs. USC football game. It was the rematch for the Teams who hadn’t played each other sine the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship game in which my Longhorns were victorious. Stakes were different as this was an early regualr season game, but I was looking forward o my return. I’m a big an of Cali. In anticipation of the trip I listened to a lot of my man LL Cool J’s “Goin Back To Cali” off the Less Than Zero soundtrack. The movie was okay at best, despite a really good cast, but the song is a banger. I’m a big LL fan more so for his music.I think many overlook him in conversations of greatest rappers ever, due to recency bias as my guy Eric explained. None of his more recent albums reached the commercial success or critical acclaim as his earlier. However I’ll put his 4 album run of Radio, Bigger and Deffer, Walking With a Panther, and Mama Said Knock You Out against anybody’s! Uncle L Top 10 Alltime, no doubt.
Though my Horns lost it was worth the trip as I was able to connect with old fiends as well as discover raspberry beer. I’m generally not one for fruity beers but this was more like a fermented drink with alcohol; think Kombucha Teas. The strong raspberry flavor stayed on my mind the weeks sinceand inspired this raspberry sofrito recipe. I can’t take credit for it exactly. Now I make my normal sofrito once a month and use it as a base or condiment for certain dishes. I came across an article on Chef Jeremy Fox that referenced his recipe for strawberry sofrito. I knew afterwards I’ be making a raspberry version given my preoccupation with raspberries from my LA trip.
The cool thing about this recipe is the raspberries actually take on a savory flavor profile after the long slow simmering process. It’s really a delightful dish. You get the bright red color and the high uniqueness qoutient from the sweet to savory transformation. There is still a hint of sweet raspberry flavor and you can dial it up or down depending on how long you cook the raspberries and how much onion, fennel, and sesame seeds you include in the sofrito.
This dish pairs with many different items. Chef Fox suggests using with polenta which I will try at some point. I can also see it with zuchini pasta. I used this sofrito as a topping for roasted cauliflower steaks that turned out delicious.
Dope beats, fresh eats. Enjoy!
“Going back to cali” raspberry sofrito
- 8 oz finely diced fennel bulb
- 2 cups finely diced white onions
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more as needed
- 2 lbs raspberries
- cracked black pepper
In a wide, cast-iron skillet, combine the fennel, onion, sunflower seeds, olive oil and salt and cook over really low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything has a nice golden-brown color, 2 to 3 hours. (The goal here is to slowly caramelize the fennel and onion evenly, while also slow-toasting the sunflower seeds. Take your time and do not be tempted to speed up the process. Slow and low is good here.
Meanwhile, wash the raspberries thoroughly in a bowl of water.
Gently lift the raspberries from the water with your hands and let them dry on towels. Once dry, place them in a bowl and roughly crush them manually with hands.
Add the raspberries and any resulting juices to the pot of caramelized fennel, onion and sunflower seeds. Continue to cook over low heat until the sofrito is dark, jammy and savory, another 3 hours.
Season with additional salt if needed, then season to taste with pepper.
Let cool to room temperature. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.